06 May 2016

A Brief History of the Inner Sea

Elyden is a large world of many cultures and civilisations, some neighbours, and some divided by many thousands of miles. Though those around the Inner Sea share at least a modicum of history - shared ancestry, languages with common roots, linked histories - those on the other side of Elyden are barely known to them. Such distant lands - far Meniscea and the island-continent of Bror, as well as most of the continent of Sammaea - are a world unto themselves, and wholly alien to the civilised lands around the Inner Sea.

The Inner Sea, however, is a different story. The history of Elyden is one of layers and ages. This, the Fifth Age of Life is over five millennia old, and is but one age. Records have been known to go back even further: tantalising clues into the lives of ancient mortals.

Despite the clues buried in sands and ruins, we know little of such times. Archeology, divination and other methods have given us snippets of knowledge, however. We know that humans were not as widespread as they are today and other mortal races (the Two-and-Twenty tribes) were present in hitherto untold numbers. Empires, sprawling and under the aegis of scions and otherworlders were common. We do not know the causes, but there was a great war that spanned continents and eons. In that war were empires toppled and races obliterated. Humans, their instincts for survival greater than those of the other races, were first to emerge from the ashes and rebuild. We live in the world born from that death.

Not all that the ancients had built was lost, however, for the artifice of the Demiurges and their scions remained, superior to what even the technarcanists of today can manufacture. In most cases these marvels of the ancients are ruined, though a few have been found in working order, and it is thought that many of the technological breakthroughs of the Fifth Age lie in rediscovered techniques and technologies of the ancients.

It is with these gifts that the modern age was slowly built from the ashes of ancient war, and though few know the full truth behind our origins, there remains a collective memory of sorts - an echo of forgotten empires and cities that lingers even as the modern age moves inexorably towards its own end.

In these days of fading some turn to the fading of past age for answers, or perhaps solace. Perhaps knowing that others before us experienced the ending of an age gives us strength, or maybe hope, if not a perverse delight in the suffering of others. Regardless, there are those who have taken it upon themselves to record the history of this age.

What follows is an abridged timeline of the Fifth Age, noting major events of note within what would later become the Korachani empire, the Republic of Almagest, the Reformed Sarastroan empire and the Secular Republic of Parthis.    

the Inner Sea

  • c. -1500 - -1000 RM: following the fading of the Fourth Age the mortal races begin to emerge from isolation, in small groups at first. Fourth Age empires, such as the Svathi Domains, are extinct, the only memory their scorched ruins that stand nameless over an uncaring land. Familial groups begin to encounter each other. In some areas they remain separate, whilst in others they join together in larger (albeit still small) groups. These groups, regardless of their size, tend to explore the ruins of past civilisations. Some settle these regions whereas others remain nomadic, wandering the lands they encounter. Over time these disparate groups will consolidate and breed together, spreading and eventually giving rise to the ancestral races from which modern humans are descended - the achshi (populating extant Vârr, Rhamia and Ahrishen), the areshi nomads (who would clash with the achshi), the dheans and dhamateans (populating what would later become Ba’ath and Lidea), the lascar (who would populate the eastern coast of the Gulf of Skaros, giving their name to Laaskha), the nathi (whose ancestors would expand to Narthel, Lyridia, Sarastro and Venthir), the svathi (who would scatter and settle the Haréshk, Zion, and Ba’ath), amongst many others. It is during this time that most city-states and demesnes remaining from the Fourth Age disappear, either falling to vice and corruption, or becoming assimilated by the new cultures.
  • -1280 RM: in Ithoia, the Dhamas, wealthy from trade with Dhea, erect the city of Dhamatea. It is one of the first known major cities from the Fifth Age and the name becomes synonymous with the region.
  • c. -1200 RM: In the plains of Hamshen, Vagash subjugates surrounding tribes, becoming a major power in the region.
  • c. -1125 RM: the Achshi people beat the marauding tribes south of their settled lands. The city of Fascia can be traced to this time.
  • c. -1100 RM: the city of Amnath is home to as many as 15,000 people; one of the largest cities of the day. Kheri nomads move east from Haagen into Anubia, where their descendants remain to this day.
  • -1019 RM: King Sathep I unites Shaos Kher, funding Saostana, which would later become Sarastro.
  • c. -1000 RM: by this time many of the emerging cultures have consolidated and become nations and empires - the classical empires of antiquity from which modern nations are descended. It is a time of rediscovery and repopulation. Cities begin to grow rapidly as do their parent empires: Amnath, Dhamatea, Arsheesh, Asibaia, Azor, Conth, Haagen, Hara, Olnnad, Opham, and many others. Largest amongst them were Sammon, which dominated northern Sammaea; Nath, which covered extant Venthir and Nárthel; Saostana; and Korachan, which would never solidify into a single culture, but rather thrive as disparate city-states.
  • -615 RM: In Saostana, the Simulaeids raise their patron deity Sathahan to true divinity, leading to uprisings.
  • c. –600 RM: Nath emerges as the dominant state in the Vagash region, this golden age lasts until -400 RM.
  • –593 - –589 RM: civil war in Amnath, which leaves it sundered into 9 separate nations. Thousands of slaves escape to the north and south.
  • –579 RM: civil war in Saostana culminates in the rise of the Shananid Dynasty.
  • By c. -500 RM the Korchani people have mastered the production of steel, putting them at a distinct advantage over their neighbours, many of which were still in a neolithic state. With the gift of steel, the Korachani people slowly abandon their old god, Libor and gravitate towards a dichotomous religion, worshipping light and dark, life and death. They soon cover the entirety of the Korachani peninsula, where the tribes consolidated, becoming seven distinct regions. Soon the caste of Cheiroahin (Atramental users) rises to power in Korachan.
  • c. -400 RM: coins first minted in Bithyn, Almagest.
  • c. -250 RM: coins first minted in Korachan.    
  • c. –200 RM: the Almagest, an astronomical treatise, is written, in part from knowledge taken from stargazer ruins of the Desolation of Astudan / People of Tahmal move south-east, merging with Saostanan people, out of which the Saoshyants would rise / Nath dissolves into warring states, which would eventually give rise to Venath.
  • –106 RM: Palace of the governor is built in Khadon, one of the seven city-states of Korachan. It will later become the Bastion of Steel.
  • –41 RM: Malichar is born in Korachan.
  • –33 RM:  In Sarastro, the Saoshyants gain backing of most city-states, becoming its unquestioned rulers. The capital is moved to Solonia.
  • –23 RM: The merchant Malichar is shipwrecked in the island of Maleth in the middle of the Inner Sea, where he ultimately finds the Scripture of Shadow. Using the scripture, he changes the path of his life. He leaves as a prisoner and makes port in Vaalk where he is sold as a gladiator.
  • –13 RM: The Solon laws appear in Sarastro.
  • –7 RM: Malichar kills a beast in the ring and earns his freedom. He leaves a free man, but not before slaying his captors and owners. He makes sail for Korachan where he begins his unification.
  • –6 RM: Malichar finds the sword Tartaruch, which he wields for the rest of his life.
  • –6 - 1 RM: Malichar unites the city-states of Korachan. The reign of Malichar and the Korachani empire begins. Trade pacts made with Azazem.
  • –5 RM: Malichar finds the shield Aegis in Bachan, wields it until the creation of the Iron Angel in 341 RM, at which point he gives it to her.
  • –3 RM: King Ahrishen I dies in Aresh and the nation is renamed Ahrishen in his honour / Hetepheres, last of the Nathi sphinxes, travels to Teigirs.
  • –2 RM: Malichar leads the seven City-states against the Cheiroahin, deposing them, exiling what remained of them to the north-west.
  • –1 RM: A powerful personality cult forms around the sphinx Hetepheres in Teira.
  • 0 – 100 RM: Rise of the Venathi empire from the ruin of the Nath state in what is now Venthir.
  • 1 RM: so-called Age of Steel begins, lasts until death of the Undying Machine, in 4008 RM.
  • 1-5 RM: Worship of the old Deities of Life and Death is abolished in the Korachani empire in favour of The Undying Machine, which is an enigmatic figure and centre of a growing mystery cult. The prevalent sorcerer-caste of Cheiroahin is persecuted, driven to the north-and-west, where they settle in Skaros.
  • 1-82 RM: Unification Wars in Korachan; where the proverbial seven nations were acquired.

(note: this is an excerpt of a larger timeline, detailing the first centuries of the Korachani empire's conquest over the Inner Sea. The full timeline is available to patrons pledgiung at least $1 a month on my Patreon)

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